Photo-enforced traffic tickets are cruel and unethical because they come after the fact in the mail. You, as a citizen, don't know they're coming or when or how many, because on the day or days you broke the law, you had no idea you also got marked for a fine. So the ticket arrives in the mail - hopefully only one - and a month after you broke the law, suddenly you can't buy groceries. Or gas. Or maybe you just spent some money on something you wouldn't have if you'd known the ticket was coming. This is why we have laws that limit the amount of a ticket and how it is issued. Photo-enforced traffic tickets are bad faith on the part of the issuing government party. They're mean, and they make you feel bad about your role as a citizen.
It's wrong for the government to film you and then mail you an unexpected bill. It's also the top of one heck of a slippery slope.
I didn't argue that in California Superior Court today. At least not as completely or as clearly as above.
I also didn't think to make any statements about respecting that I had indeed done something wrong, and that of course running a stop sign is bad and a tickable offense. Which I clearly should have because after the case was complete the judge spoke to me about accidents involving running stop signs. I managed to get in that I respected that and that was why I wasn't arguing about having ran the stop sign in the first place.
She said that she's gotten tickets before and simply paid them, and I said, "So have I."
Still, I seriously should have spoken to this point during the actual hearing.
I thought it would be better to keep it simple and just argue my points, (see my blog post, So I went to my MRCA Administrative Hearing), but I wasn't able to speak directly to the points that the lawyer had prepared against my position. Both because I couldn't anticipate them, and also because I'd pretty much reached my current level of California law digestion and understanding.
It was all really interesting and educational, that's for sure.
I'm pretty sure I lost today, but what's worse is that my first goal was *supposed* to be to remain calm and collected and not get upset, and - yet again - I failed miserably on this point. I left court feeling like, Why are you crying? WTF? I mean, I knew I was going to be in over my head going in.
It makes no sense to me, and yet, there it happened again.
I need to really think about what's the trigger. I know it happens after a long speech against me where I have to just sit and listen. I know it's frustration at my limitations, and feeling like I'm in a situation that's stacked against me. Feeling like the poor little fool who has no chance against the rich grownups. Anger at injustice.
I know that after it starts, then I'm distracted by my anger and frustration with myself, and my embarrassment at my tears and shaking voice. Today I regrouped and said what I meant to say, but not as well as I would have liked. I also feel like I could have thought of some other good things to say if I hadn't gotten upset.
I should have practiced that moment ahead of time, I think. I bet I have some friends who would roleplay with me in advance of a situation. I prepped that way once for a negotiation, and I was very successful at what we practiced.
So this is something I will continue to work on. I'm also very thankful for the woman who smiled at me reassuringly as I was walking out.
Another thing is knowing that while it's definitely something to just show up, it's not enough. I want to be someone who does the work AND does it well. For example from another part of my life, it's not enough to say that I've applied to the ABC/DGA Directing Program X number of times, rather I need to be doing what it takes to have a stronger application. Doing the work has meaning, but I need to push beyond that. I want to do the work AND excel.
For today, however, just doing the work is going to have to do. I think I did OK, and I think I lost, and I didn't even stay calm. But I tried. And I stood up for what I believe in. I stood up against photo-enforced traffic tickets because I believe to my core that they are cruel and unethical.
Actually, I sat because the judge said to, and the lawyer for MRCA didn't. That was weird and confusing. I think I should have restood when I spoke? I decided to sit because she said to and let it go.
You know, I think people tell lawyer jokes because it's actually really impressive what they do every day and some people want to diminish that to make themselves feel better because they couldn't do it. I can't imagine feeling comfortable in a courthouse setting and standing up like that every day. I think that's why we make so many shows about courtrooms and hospitals, because if you're outside them, they and the people who work in them are so impressive and their entire world is really fascinating.
One other interesting thing, while I've no idea how to object, I did manage to stipulate that I ran the stop sign so we didn't have to watch the video. So I guess one small personal victory for me.
In other news, gingerbread lattes are in at Starbucks, and I was really grateful to be able to have that treat after a very challenging morning.
My previous posts about my MRCA ticket:
UPDATE: After I wrote this post I realized that I should give myself a break considering I had a major face swelling episode on Wednesday night, then work all day Thursday at my new job where I was embarrassed because of my swollen face, and then there's the fact that I'm closing out three challenging years of layoffs, unemployment and underemployment. I went. I didn't do as well as I would have like to. But I made it, I did it, I learned a lot, and it's done. I know if I keep moving forward, and keep working hard, things will stabilize and the balance will tip to more winning. Final stretch on this difficult period of my life. I declare it!